I am a risk taker, an entrepreneur, and a visionary. In the corporate world, I earn my living by making things happen. I ensure billion dollar businesses continue to move forward. And yet, in my writing career, I felt stagnant and helpless. When it came to getting my stories into readers’ hands, I was ineffectual.
So why did it take me so long to leap in this direction?
Honestly, there is a mismatch between digital publishing and core YA readership. Teens still want physical books they can hold in their hands, and after reading, place on a shelf in their bedroom. In part, their books define who they are. Although some kids are using eReaders, the majority are not. In YA, bonding with a story = hardcopy = for keeps.
For a YA story, not being in bookstores in a HUGE CON.
Fortunately, YA now has a lot of older, cross-over readership who do have kindles and nooks and iPads—oh, my! If I was going to self-pub, I needed to adjust my core demographic to this market. Because I have a passion for connecting with teenagers, it took me a long time to realign my target reader. Not that I don’t LOVE the cross-over YA readers (or Yougers as I like to lovingly call grown women, like myself, addicted to YA), but self-publishing meant accepting that this story would never be housed next to Cassandra Clare and Suzanne Collins at my local Barnes and Noble. L No eager bookseller would grab my book, thrust it into the hands of some wide-eyed teenager, and say, “You have to read this one!”
I had many CONS rolling around in my brain but it took some work to create a PROS list.
· Missing core part of the YA reader demographic –teens
· No stumbling upon my book at my local bookstore L
· Self-pub still has some "vanity press" stigma
· LOTS OF WORK
· Readers have been burned by poor quality, self-pubbed material
· My story will most likely get lost in the deluge of eBooks
· No publisher sponsored big book release (Did I really think I’d get that going the traditional route?)
· No advance (But if I’m in this for the money, I’m probably in for a rude awakening!)
· LESS TIME TO WRITE!
· My story would get read! YA lovers would have an opportunity to read it (Whether 2 readers or 200, this story would exist in the digital universe for readers to find and hopefully love.)
· With POD (print on demand), hardcopies could be available to order
· Agility/Complete control over a release date (no 1-3 year wait)
· Cover control
· Could call myself an “indie” author and my book “indie” published (We’ll debate the semantics of indie vs. self-pubbed another time.)
· Very low overhead; set my own, affordable purchase price for eBooks
· I could move to the next step in my career
· Get back some creative control
· I could finally start on a sequel
Conclusion: When I laid it out, my PROS were more compelling than my CONS. Time to leap!
Mood: Frenetic (just got line edits back)
Related topics: Agent Natalie Fischer has a great post from the opposite side of the coin entitled, “Why I’m Scared (to self-publish)”
Great post by Amanda Brice about her journey as an indie-author: here
Your turn: When it comes to self-publishing, what are some of your PROS and CONS?